How to muck out a stall

Tracking tip of the week: Beware of dead things on black pavement. While they are most assuredly dead, oncoming headlights will assure that you will soon be in a similar predicament.

Ok I have decided that I will no longer write sad and depressing posts. While it may be therapeutic for me, it is boring for others so I will make the next few posts more upbeat.

Basically let’s say that I have worked through most of my issues and have decided to take life by the short hairs! I have realized that life is too precious to squander by reliving the past and dwelling on disappointments. I may add some from time to time if I feel something needs said but to make a long story short, I have decided to no longer change or hide my true self to make others happy (namely hubby) but will be myself as much as I can and if people don’t like it they can go suck eggs (yes I cleaned this up for you!)

My daughter has competed at Arabian Youth Nationals for the past three years. This year there were many horses with the group she goes with and no helpers so it was left to the parents and single trainer to muck out a dozen stalls several times a day. I set to with a will, determined to do my part to insure health and happiness of horses (and the trainer!)

One might think cleaning horse poop is simple. And it is if you want to do a piss poor job (no pun intended.) Too much scooping and you lose all the shavings which are very expensive to us poor horse owners. Too little scooping and the stall gets progressively worse, damaging the horse’s hooves and health, not to mention the growing stench!

Take a “fork” to pick up the obvious piles of horse droppings. A neat horse will drop all in one spot making clean-up easier (I said easier, not easy) but some scatter willy-nilly and make lots of little droppings, creating much more work. For the large piles, start a little in front of the pile and lightly poke the fork under the shavings, wiggling a little to allow all the shavings to fall through while keeping the poop on the fork. (Again be careful with the wiggle. Too much and the poop falls off, too little and all the good shavings disappear.) Toss in the wheelbarrow that you have brought into the stall with you. This is important because if you miss, droppings will not go out into the aisle which you then have to clean up with a shovel and rake.

Keep forking up poop until you get it all. Oh and FYI, you will NEVER get it all, especially if the horse leaves it scattered all over. Just when you think it is clean, you turn around and there is another. I firmly believe that they propagate when your back is turned. I also firmly believe that some horses hide them on purpose so you can enjoy the discovery like Easter eggs!

For pee spots (and yes there are many of those too) find the edges and lightly scratch around until you see the dry areas. This is the most efficient way to get the wet shavings. Also, VERY IMPORTANT: Hold your breath. Nothing compares to the ammonia smell of horse piss. It will take two showers to get rid of it but on the bright side, you don’t notice the smell after a couple days of mucking out. Everyone else around you will wrinkle their noses, especially if they are not horse people. Just smile and nod and don’t stand in one place too long.

I learned many other things and have oh so many blogs to write about:

How to walk a horse, how NOT to walk a horse;

How to bathe ten horses in two days;

How to fill hay nets; how to HANG hay nets

How NOT to stack hay and get out of way quickly when said stack comes crashing down.

How to not care when horses sneeze all over your shirt. It’s gonna happen no matter what so just sigh and grab another shirt.

I could write very lengthy posts on all of the above but don’t worry. I was just flexing my writing muscles and won’t blog about these others.

Unless someone specifically asks me to, of course.